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Residents wait for their turn at SEHA's COVID-19 Vaccination Centre at Mina Rashid in Abu Dhabi. Image Credit: Virendra Saklani/Gulf News

Abu Dhabi: The Department of Community Development in Abu Dhabi (DCD) recently hosted a virtual meeting with the leaders of non-Muslim places of worship and the representatives of social communities and groups in the emirate.

The online gathering highlighted their key role in supporting the ongoing national recovery campaign associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. The meeting came following the DCD’s visits to non-Muslim places of worship to encourage people to take the COVID-19 vaccine under its ‘Choose to Vaccinate’ campaign, which is being held in cooperation with Abu Dhabi health authorities in accordance with the country’s precautionary measures to combat the virus and protect the health and safety of the local communities.

Community spirit

During the online event, DCD chairman Dr Mugheer Khamis Al Khaili thanked the religious leaders and representatives as he pointed out the importance of social integration and cohesion in Abu Dhabi to strengthen its readiness to overcome any challenges. He also said representatives have effectively contributed to making the UAE one of the countries in the world with the best COVID-19 response by complying with the precautionary measures issued by DCD and its government partners since the beginning of the global health crisis.

Al Khaili added: “You are an essential part of our society. As such, we will work with you side by side, collaborate and listen to your needs. The department is committed to helping you and your families have a decent life. We are also happy by the positive response of religious leaders in Abu Dhabi. You have set an example to your parishioners by being among the first to take the vaccine and, afterwards, encouraging them to do the same for their protection. This demonstrates the spirit of unity, cohesion and full confidence in the UAE’s efforts to fight COVID-19. It also reflects the willingness of all concerned parties to cooperate and take the advanced steps necessary to efficiently help address the crisis to bring life back to normal.”

Medical volunteers

The DCD chairman said: “Through an integrated recovery plan, the UAE has been tireless in its efforts to be among the first countries to obtain the vaccine. The country’s senior officials were also the first to get vaccinated, sending a message to everyone about the vaccine’s safety and efficacy.”

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Visitors receiving tokens on their arrival for vaccine at SEHA's COVID-19 Vaccination Centre at Mina Rashid in Abu Dhabi. Image Credit: Virendra Saklani/Gulf News

Since the start of the crisis, the places of worship and social communities have been instrumental in conveying messages of hope and communicating government instructions and guidelines to their members. They have also formed teams of medical volunteers to aid the country’s first line of defence.

Legal framework

The DCD has implemented a legal framework regulating the establishment of places of worship, public associations, clubs and sports institutions in Abu Dhabi. It has also set the criteria for licensing, inspection and auditing of the entities to ensure their compliance with the existing regulations, standards and legislations.